Untainted Wonder (#801)

Kyle sat through a baby dedication on Mother's Day and what the parents were told in that setting pegged his yuck meter. How are we going to keep kids untainted by religious performance if some pastors keep shoveling it on with abandon? That leads to a spirited conversation about how we shed the weight of obligation and recapture the wonder of God's beauty and power at work in the world and a letter from a pastor that reminds us people who are fleeing religion "aren't rejecting Jesus but churches that represent him badly." They end with Psalm 96, an amazing anthem to the beauty of God's glory as it overruns the earth to set things right that sin has twisted.

Podcast Notes:
People Are Leaving church—Because of Churches
My Friend Luis, the podcast
Order Wayne's new book Live Loved Free Full


  1. This podcast reminds me of a few years ago while I was a single Mom… I let my then pastor know that I couldn’t participate in Wednesday nights anymore because that was a good evening for me to spend with my kids before they left for their days later than night for a few days….. I was struggling with seeing my kids way less than I was used to… I went from being a full time stay at home to working full time and sharing joint custody of my kids with my ex and I needed this one evening to just be with my kids…. I was told that I wasn’t showing/teaching my kids that God has 1st place in our home/lives because I wasn’t making Wednesday nights a priority for our family…. this was so sad for me… why is programming the thing that teaches our kids that God has 1st place?? ?

    • You’re right, Laura. If God really has first place it’s because we’re actually following his leading, not because we fit into the program. But there’s a business model that underlies the human version of “church” that must be served. Attendance and giving is always more important than following. So sad. I’m glad you had the courage to make the better choice for you and your kids.

  2. I got back to enjoying your podcasts after stopping because of the negativity and church bashing—, like churches couldn’t possibly be God ordained. Today’s 801 made me sad. Thank you for your ministry. There is so much that is needed and good. But positive and good info is so much better than church negativity.

    • I appreciate you sharing your perspective here, Donna, and I’m sorry you see it as church bashing. I’m sure we have ever said that congregations couldn’t possibly be God ordained. We’re trying to help people here who have been saddled with religious obligation rather than being equipped to experience a life-changing relationship with God himself. I realize some congregations seek to equip people to that reality, but many are more into the success of their programs than the equipping and loving of people. That’s the distinction we hope to make. Everything our humanity touches is a bit of a mixed bag, isn’t it? Some things we do reflect his glory and other things we don’t. By identifying the distinction we hope to help peple lean into that which does not be condemned by that which doesn’t.

  3. I loved this podcast, thank you so much! It just made me think how I often struggle on how to teach my kids about God or show them His love when I still am trying to untangle some of the religious mindset or still surrounded by it in my circles. I feel like I can’t even buy “Christian” resources for my kids because most I find are focused on religious performance and sin and not the simplicity of the Gospel. Then we have family and friends that are involved with church activities that I just can’t seem to let my kids be a part of when invited, as I’m so nervous of them being tainted. My 10 yr old nephew is very passionate about trying to discuss Hell, sin, the rapture, etc with my kids and my kids don’t completely understand as we tend to not focus on those kinds of topics. Worship music has become empty to me similar to the worship leader that wrote to you. I feel like many of the music triggers my past experiences in church that were just a show but I want them to be able to enjoy music that shares about Jesus. I had even stepped away from the Bible for a long time because I had so many questions, and still do that it’s hard for me to encourage my kids to read the Bible. If I as an adult struggle understanding scriptures, I worry my kids would. I think about this also in relation to your discussions of the younger generation hearing from God in their dreams and such. How can we as the older generation help them not be tainted so they can clearly see and hear what He is doing? I want to be an instrument in my children’s lives but just don’t know how out of worry that my words are just a bunch of religious jargon. I just struggle having conversations with them as we transition out of what we have always known and don’t want to push Jesus on to them. Anyway, I would love to hear more conversations about how to help our kids know the love of God, about the stories of the Bible, about His presence in our lives, especially for those parents still coming out of or have left performance based Christianity. Is it as simple as praying for them, loving them and trusting He will fill those gaps? Thanks so much for all you do!

    • Amy, have you checked out the Jesus Story at Lifestream.org? https://www.lifestream.org/the-jesus-story/. I don’t know how old your kids are, but helping them have a different view of the Bible is what the Bible is all about. But to answer your bigger questions, yes it is about loving them, praying for them, AND helping them get acquainted with God’s reality in life, in Scripture, in fellowship with others on a relational journey that can invite them into a journey with God, but I’ll see if we can discuss this more some time…

      • Thank you Wayne…I did start the Jesus Story for myself when you introduced it but have not shared it with my kids (ages 14, 11, 9 and 5) yet. Thank you for reminding me of it, I will check it out again. And I appreciate your response about the bigger questions!

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